The Blair community is excited to welcome back foreign policy and civil liberties expert Doug Bandow to begin the upcoming semester’s round of Skeptics on Tuesday, January 16. At Blair, Mr. Bandow has spoken on a wide variety of timely foreign policy topics including the war between Russia and Ukraine, the 2020 U.S. election and modern diplomatic relations between the United States and China.
At his upcoming event, Mr. Bandow plans on speaking about “the world aflame,” namely the three major international conflicts, including the Russia-Ukraine war, combat in Gaza and the Middle East, and the potential war in East Asia.
“The Russia-Ukraine conflict is nowhere close to ending and still poses a risk of escalation. There’s the combat in Gaza, which threatens to draw in Yemen, Lebanon and even Iran. And officials in both Washington and Beijing talk about the potential for war over Taiwan,” said Mr. Bandow in a pre-event interview.
“Involvement in any of these wars by the United States would be terrible. Involvement in all of them would be truly catastrophic. These risks make it even more imperative that all the major powers turn to diplomacy for their own interest, as well as of others around the world.”
Having grown up on a U.S. Air Force base in the United Kingdom where his father served, Mr. Bandow has long steeped himself in foreign policy and government affairs. From assisting as a special assistant under the Reagan Administration to conducting work as a senior fellow for the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank, Mr. Bandow has curated an impressive portfolio. Additionally, he writes for leading publications including Fortune magazine, The National Interest, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Times. He comments regularly on major news networks.
“I was interested in international affairs from a young age. The Vietnam War was going on during that time so I was fairly interested in that and also the 1972 election,” said Mr. Bandow. “I was involved in speech and debate and informed myself with my parents encouraging me to do that.”
Mr. Bandow holds a JD from Stanford University and has written several books, including Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire, The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea and Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World. He has challenged the Blair community with discussions of terrorism, drug legalization, ancient Chinese culture and the 2012 presidential election in past years.
Mr. Bandow continues to visit Blair because of how invaluable he believes the Society of Skeptics program is.
“Society of Skeptics has always been laudable for bringing in a range of speakers, and I appreciate that attempt to share information, and more importantly, immerse students in the world,” said Mr. Bandow.
“You bring in people from the arts, business or politics and attempt to help students look at the world around them and encourage them to do more. This attempt to get students more involved and to encourage them, by showing them what opportunities exist to go out and do those things.…It’s a wonderful program.”
If he had to impart one overarching piece of advice to his young audience next week, he would say: “My key message for high school students is to get involved in public affairs, in government, in culture and in society. People will make decisions and if they are not involved, then somebody else will make those decisions for them. The world that they are going to live in is up to them. My hope is that they recognize that they need to take charge. They can do it.”
All are welcome to hear Mr. Bandow speak in the forum of the Chiang-Elghanayan Center next Tuesday at 7 p.m.
History of Skeptics
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.
The program, which is funded in part by the Class of 1968 Society of Skeptics Endowment Fund, is an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon. ’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller and his successor, history department chair Jason Beck, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are thought-provoking, engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please visit Blair’s website.